Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 25 2013

Middle East trip, part 12

After our market-related concerns yesterday, Ahmed and Salim took us around several markets this morning, including a fish market and a general goods market along the shore where I felt I did a good job of negotiating the price of three hats. Ahmed came into the shop and, just to show off, got them to throw in another hat for the price.

We visited a small but intricate fort, with a knowledgeable guide who was (surprise) another one of Salim’s friends. He was proud of the old ways and traditions, and obviously took a great deal of pride in being able to show off the fort to outsiders. “Ask him why they don’t turn it into a hotel for tourists,” Chenbl said after the tour.

“I don’t think I will,” I replied.

We drove a while longer to another fort, this one much larger and surrounded by date plantations, crisscrossed with irrigation canals from a nearby spring. I sat in the turret for a bit trying to imagine being a guard there, looking out over the plain for enemy forces. Later we bathed in the hot spring waters, in little cubicles over the stream leading directly from the spring. The women’s baths were downstream from the men’s, which kind of sucks for the women, but the water was probably hot enough to destroy the nastier things. We waited for the others to pray as the sun set, and then headed back to Muscat, where we dined at Ahmed’s lovely home, of course never setting eyes on his wife, but his little son and daughter ran in and out of the living room while we ate. I’ve gotten used to eating only parts of meals here in Oman; our hosts keep plying us with huge meals, and it’s impossible to finish one. They even bought me the entire Dunkin Donuts inventory after I wondered aloud if they tasted differently here than in other countries. All of our hosts here have been just great; we’re very fortunate to know them.

Tomorrow we start travelling again, back to Jordan, and then back home. And it seems that I’ve caught Ahmed’s cold to boot. Ah, well.

posted by Poagao at 6:55 am  

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